Lady Gaga’s Mother Responds to Allegations That Born This Way Foundation Isn’t Charitable
Lady Gaga‘s mother Cynthia Germanotta has responded to the reports that the Gaga-launched and Mama G-run Born This Way Foundation, a youth-directed initiative that combats bullying, among other things, has spent more money on consulting fees and publicity than it did on actual charitable efforts.
A report, along with a copy of one of the organization’s tax returns, landed online.
The breakdown is as follows.
The BTWF spent $348,000 on the Born Brave bus, all the while spending $1.5 million on legal fees, publicity and the website. Tons of write offs were listed, such as $300,000 on strategic consulting (web and digital); $62,836 on stage productions; $50,000 on social media; $50,000 on event coordination; $808,661 on “other”; $406,5552 on legal expenses; $150,000 on philanthropic consulting; $60,000 on research; $58,768 on publicity; $78,000 on travel; and $72,000 on salaries.
A total of $5,000 went towards grants to organizations of individuals.
Clearly, there was tons of money spent on operating costs, but that last $5,000 is what set people off, something that Mama G moved to correct.
Additionally, the organization claimed $2.6 million in donations, but the return didn’t list donors, leading journalists to suggest that it came from Gaga’s income and that the BTWF is a tax shelter for her to write off income as untaxable.
Mama G, the original Mother Monster, offered the following statement to the Huffington Post, addressing the reports that the Born This Way Foundation isn’t helping people the way it says it is. She offered a reason argument to shut it down.
It is important for us to set the record straight regarding Born This Way Foundation’s mission and how the organization allocates its funds. There is quite a bit of inaccurate information out there right now that misinterprets the essential mission and critical work of a very special organization that was founded several years ago by Stefani Germanotta, whom you all know as Lady Gaga.
First and foremost, we are an organization that conducts our charitable activity directly, and we fund our own work. We are not a grant-maker that funds the work of other charities, and were never intended to be.
Our activity has included The Born Brave Bus Tour, which has travelled to 23 communities, interacting with more than 19,000 young people and raising awareness to the tune of more than 300 million media impressions. The foundation’s messages of kindness and bravery have touched more than half a million online users via our website, which includes the Bravest Map Ever and the Play Brave Game, as well as social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook — which on a peak week can hit 50 million individual users.
Lady Gaga founded Born This Way Foundation to foster a more accepting society for our young people. She covered all of the start-up costs for the organization with her own money and uses her celebrity to constantly advocate on behalf of tolerance, individualism and kindness. Moreover, Born This Way Foundation’s work has focused heavily on providing information on empowerment through its website, raising awareness of the importance of being kind to others through public relations and social media, bringing messages about individuality and bravery to communities around the country via the Born Brave Bus Tour and multiple events.
Every dollar spent across these categories, including the legal fees towards the safe and effective implementation of each initiative, directly serves Born This Way Foundation’s core mission of empowering youth.
And we are having a profound impact in just a very short period of time.
Each of these initiatives was funded via monies detailed on the 2012 Form 990. And a true examination of this form, not to mention a clear understanding of the differences between a grant-making organization and one that carries out its work directly would have made this a non-story.